Aqib Talib has been phenomenal for the New England Patriots ever since arriving from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a trade prior to the 2012 trade deadline. He has been the most important player on the team’s defense and the team cannot lose him. Unfortunately, there have been soft rumblings about the possibility of him leaving the team via free agency in March.
Adding fuel to those rumors, CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora recently wrote a column about the Possibility of Talib testing the free agent market when the time comes.
Knowing how the Patriots do business, it is likely that they will not be able to, or rather won’t re-sign the top-flight cornerback if he tests the market given how they have always approached player contract negotiations.
The Patriots do not pay top dollar for any player, and if he stays, he would have to accept less money than another team would likely give him. As Patriots’ fans know, this was the scenario that played out with WR Wes Welker.
He ultimately departed from New England for mere pennies on the dollar. The team cannot allow a key member of their secondary to suffer the same fate.
Given the lack of offensive production the team has had and the big step the defense continues to take, losing Talib would be catastrophic to the team. If he were to leave, the team would have a very hard time finding an adequate replacement to fill his shoes.
It is even more important the Patriots extend him early if you consider the bevvy of defensive backs the team has missed on through the years like Ras-I Dowling, Terrence Wheatley, Darius Butler and Shawn Springs to name a few.
With this lackluster track record of bringing in cornerbacks on the Patriots’ resume, the team cannot afford to let Talib test free agency. There is too big a risk of him leaving if he were to test the market.
Whether it is a one-year or multi-year contract, or an application of the franchise tag, the Patriots must do whatever is necessary to keep Talib off the market in March. If they lose him, it would be too big of a hit to a Patriots’ defense that is just now starting to find its identity for the first time in a while.